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Points of Order

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your help. Castle Point has serious antisocial behaviour problems, and I have spent some of my time over the past few weekends persuading residents not to get together in vigilante groups in order to go out on to the street late at night to protect their community, as that would be dangerous and unhelpful to the police. Has the Home Secretary indicated that he will come to the House and explain his new policy of encouraging residents to take control of their streets late at night, which seems dangerous?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As the stoutest defender of Back-Bench rights and of new Members such as me, will you give me some guidance? I wrote to the Minister for Housing and Planning at the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 24 January seeking a meeting to discuss planning conditions in relation to residential homes for troubled young people. When I did not receive a response, I followed up with another letter on 25 April. I phoned her office on 19 May and was told that my letter had gone from official to official and that no one had dealt with it, but that a reply would be sent within the next couple of days. Nothing further came, so my office called again on 31 May and we were told that investigations would be made and that we would be telephoned back shortly. Will you give guidance on this lamentable situation?

If the hon. Gentleman sends me the details of the question, my officers will investigate the matter.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Foreign Secretary has rightly condemned the massacre of a Palestinian family that left only a seven-year-old girl as a survivor. The Foreign Secretary’s condemnation is welcome, and I have always condemned suicide bombings. Is there any way in which you could use your influence, Mr. Speaker, so that an oral statement can be made in the Chamber before Foreign Office questions? There is very great concern over what occurred.

The hon. Gentleman is well aware of the procedures of the House. If he feels that there should be an oral statement, he can apply for an urgent question. I give no guarantee as to whether that urgent question will be granted.